Kilic Ali Pasa Hamam, where you get your treatment sitting down

Located in the Karaköy/Tophane district of Istanbul, it's pretty easy and convenient to get here.

Another of the luxurious historical hamams, the renovation and restoration of this hamam is breathtaking. High windows let in light, while thick walls muffle the sound of the outside world. The whole effect is womb-like and comforting, setting you at ease. An attendant sits with you for a bit while you drink some complimentary sherbet, a sweet, Ottoman-inspired fruit drink. Like any spa, you fill out a health form and the attendant that will be giving you your scrub down is made aware of any problems you might have. This is a far cry from how hamams used to be over ten years ago, when you were literally thrown into the arms of the matron and scrubbed within an inch of your life! Ah, the good old days!

After spending some time warming up on the heated stone in the middle of the hamam (this is a perfect place to go in the winter, let me tell you!) your attendant will lead you to one of the basins at the side of the hamam. here you will be scrubbed, washed, and massaged. For the first time I had my loofah scrub and massage done while I was sitting along the side, and not while stretched out on the central stone. A hamam-snob, I felt a bit miffed at first, but then actually enjoyed it. Much like these guys in this photo here.

The whole experience was wonderful. If you want an additional massage, you can book one for after you are done with your bath. Overall this hamam was a bit easier on the wallet and better in regards to time. In fact, two of the ladies also getting treatments with me came from nearby offices while on their lunch break. Yes, this place is frequented by tourists but I also saw a lot of locals, too, which gave the place validity. Definitely check it out on your next stop! Another great thing? they have hamam packages for kids. You can bring the littles! I hope to bring my son, and will add his review here in the near future.

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